When I was in my late 40’s I had lunch with my dear friend Bink. He started the conversation off by saying that he has developed a serious addiction problem. Now, you should be aware that Bink is an excellent public speaker and he knows the value of a strong opener for any conversation. It is sometimes called a hook. He had me hooked.
I was quite concerned thinking perhaps that he had become addicted to some medication he was taking. That was not the case. He became addicted to golf. Addiction was exactly the right word to use. He could only think and talk and read about golf. Golf 24/7. Lessons. Scores. Handicaps. The poor guy was severely smitten.
Whatever he had was contagious. I had always wanted to try golf, but never had the courage to take the big step of lessons and buying equipment. After lunch with Bink, I did it.
I had a golf pro who encouraged me even though I never had any real talent, other than money to pay him. I practiced my swing every waking moment of the day, even if I didn’t have a club. While visiting with friends at their summer house, I took a pool cue and stood out on the deck, in the rain, so I can practice swinging.
On a trip to Philadelphia to visit my elderly mother, I decided to drive (I usually flew), so that I can take my golf bag with me. It’s all I talked about with my mother.
She was thrilled that I was taking up golf. I think she saw the game as something that only rich, successful men played, so she believed it was a reflection of my status. It was hardly that. I heard her say on many occasions when introducing me at the apartment she lived in, “This is my Jackie. He plays golf.” At family gatherings it was all she talked about. Frankly, it was all I talked about, as well.
A few years later my mother passed away and she is buried in our family plot. Whenever I go to Philadelphia I make it a priority to go the cemetery to visit with everyone.
Once, as I was leaving the cemetery I looked on the ground to find small rocks to put on the gravestone of each member of my family. It’s a Jewish tradition to let the deceased know you were there.
But this time I couldn’t find any rocks because the grass around the gravestones was over-grown from all the rain. While walking through the high grass, I stepped on a rock and reached down and grabbed it.
It was a Titleist golf ball! Right there in the cemetery. A golf ball with not a golf course in sight. It seemed like a sign so I put the golf ball on my mother’s gravestone, and now, every time I visit, I bring a handful of golf balls for everyone in the family. I guess I hooked my family on golf, as well. In fact, Hook is how some of my golf friends now refer to me.